Kyle Bosworth had been practicing with the offense in short-yardage and goal-line situations for a few weeks, but it wasn’t until Sunday that he got to play on that side of the ball. Bosworth, who makes his living as a linebacker, got to play three snaps at fullback against the Washington Redskins.
It’s the first time the Plano West graduate has been on offense since high school.
“It was a great experience,” Bosworth said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played fullback. I know they want me to be versatile and as a utility player as possible. It was just the next step in the process. It was really exciting I got the three plays.”
The Cowboys lack a true fullback on their roster after cutting Lawrence Vickers in the off-season. Bosworth is a perfect fit in the team’s jumbo package, which also utilizes an extra offensive tackle in Jermey Parnell.
“I think we had three short-yardage plays in the game, and he did a good job,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Bosworth. “He’s learning. He hasn’t really done it before. But I thought one was particularly good. I thought a couple of other runs were OK. I think he’s just learning how to do it. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there. We know that. That’s a positive thing.”
The Cowboys converted on all three plays Bosworth played. DeMarco Murray had a 1-yard run on third-and-one on the fourth snap of the game. On the Cowboys’ second drive, Murray followed Bosworth into the hole for a 2-yard gain on third-and-one. Then, on their third drive, Phillip Tanner gained 2 yards on a third-and-1 behind Bosworth.
“I was pleased with the second and third [plays],” Bosworth said. “The first one could have been better. But I was 3-for-3 in getting the first downs, so that’s good.”
Bosworth laughed when asked if he’d start lobbying to get a pass thrown his way.
“Man, I have great hands,” he said. “I know coach throws me a lot of balls when we’re in scout team and stuff like that, and I haven’t dropped one yet. Knock on wood. But progression. I hope that comes, because that would be just unbelievable. But in time. I’m good with blocking right now.”
Bosworth played three plays on offense, 19 on special teams and none on defense against the Redskins.
ARLINGTON, Texas – The preseason ended in underwhelming fashion for the Dallas Cowboys’ backups trying to make their final impressions Thursday at AT&T Stadium.
The backups got the work all day against a Texans team that rushed for 190 yards in a 24-6 loss in the fifth and final preseason game for the Dallas Cowboys.
“They did a good job running the football on us,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “It didn’t seem like we were getting lined up very quickly on defense and some of that goes to a lot of young players playing and those guys responsible for making those calls and adjustments. That goes into the evaluation as well.”
The thrashing doesn’t mean a whole lot going forward outside of deciding final roster spots. Tackle Jermey Parnell and linebacker Ernie Sims were the only potential starters to find the field Thursday.
Just three years ago, the Cowboys played the Texans in the fourth preseason game of the year and lost by 16 points in the dress rehearsal. Dallas faced Houston again when it actually mattered in Week 3 of the regular season and won by 14, so the score of Thursday’s lopsided defeated shouldn’t be dwelled upon.
But many of the backups didn’t exactly leave a lasting impression in the game.
The offense managed just 219 total yards to the Texans’ 427. Houston had eight more first downs than Dallas and finished with a 42 percent third-down efficiency to the Cowboys’ meager 21 percent. The special teams didn’t make any drastic mistakes this week and Chris Jones dropped five punts inside the 20-yard line, but the Cowboys also allowed a 29-yard punt return to the Texans.
“You want to play better than we played tonight in all three phases of our football team, but again, a lot of young guys were playing, a lot of different combinations of guys for us and for them,” Garrett said. “You try to evaluate individuals as much as you evaluate the whole group.”
While the game didn’t mean much to the starters who were held out, it did hold significant value for the players on the bubble attempting to make the 53-man roster.
Alex Tanney threw 31 of the Cowboys’ 32 passes, as he got the majority of the work throughout the day but was pressured and battered around constantly, getting sacked seven times. The Cowboys failed to score a touchdown throughout the day, despite getting into Houston territory multiple times.
Tanney finished 17-of-31 with 177 yards and one interception. Garrett and the coaching staff will take into account the barrage of defenders in his face as they assess the quarterback.
“But then you have to assess how he responds to that,” Garrett said. “That’s part of playing this position. It looked like he kept his composure, moved around, kept his eyes up the field, but just couldn’t get into much of a rhythm throughout the football game.”
Some of the players entering Thursday’s game knew beforehand they had a decent chance at cracking the final roster. But they know that doesn’t mean their spot is completely safe.
Cole Beasley, who could hardly put weight on his injured foot a week ago, managed to heal up enough in time to make a final impression, catching two passes for 30 yards and nearly breaking enough tackles on a catch in Texans’ territory to get past the defense. Beasley said he may have had enough pep in his step to break free if he wasn’t injured recently, but the foot felt good enough to play through.
“Hopefully I did enough to make it, and at least I’ll have another opportunity to get better and keep improving and come back and try to get a role somehow,” Beasley said.
The Cowboys now have one day to make decisions on their 53-man roster. As the backups wait to hear their fate, the starters will continue to prepare for the opener against the Giants, which they’ve had their sights set on since training camp.
“It’s what everybody wants to see,” Bryant said. “Both teams are going to come in, and we want to put on a show.”
RELATED: 2013 preseason finale confirms no need for 3 QBs on roster
ARLINGTON, Texas – Honestly, this article was planned out long before the final outcome of the matchup with the Texas Thursday – a night that mercifully ended a five-game preseason schedule.
So it’s not actually news-breaking at this point, considering the Dallas Cowboys barely did anything on offense in this 24-6 loss to Houston.
The Cowboys don’t need three quarterbacks on the roster.
Alex Tanney got all but one series Thursday night – a golden opportunity to showcase his skills. He had the chance to prove he could orchestrate drives, throw the ball on the run and make plays in and out of the pocket.
Plain and simple, Tanney had nearly four quarters to prove he needed to be on this 53-man roster.
At some point, he might be on this team. Right now, the Dallas Cowboys simply can’t afford to keep him. With the offensive line injuries, they need to go longer with guards and centers. They likely need to keep more safeties than normal and keeping a sixth receiver or a fifth tight end is actually more of a debate than keeping a third quarterback.
You know, we’ve seen this before.
Just three years ago, the Cowboys were in this same situation going into this very game – the fifth and final preseason contest against Miami. Heading into the game, it seemed like Stephen McGee was on the outside looking in, in terms of making the 53-man roster. He needed a great game to basically save his roster spot – and he delivered. Not only did he lead the Cowboys to a win, but he threw for 304 yards and a touchdown.
Tanney needed that performance Thursday night. Needless to say it didn’t happen. Was it all his fault? Not at all, considering the second-team offensive line might have been the worst-looking group the Cowboys have thrown out there in several years. But then again, if you’re worried about the first-team line, certainly the second group is going to struggle.
But back to Tanney, who was 17 of 31 for 177 yards and one interception (58.1 QB rating). He was on his back most of the night, getting sacked seven times, although it felt like 22 times with that dreadful final drive in the fourth quarter.
It was 10 years ago when Tony Romo was pretty much in the same situation. Only that year, Romo and Clint Stoerner were battling for the No. 3 spot. Romo fired a 60-yard touchdown to Randal Williams and that was just enough to prove he had potential and was worth keeping. We all know what happened next.
And yes, I might have been the first one to say this early in training camp, but Tanney does remind me of a YOUNG Romo. Not the Romo that has started for this team since 2006. But the young, athletic, live-arm thrower who really doesn’t know everything there is to know but is just out there slinging it. That’s the Romo I remembered 10 years ago and I’ve seen Tanney flash the same type of skills.
Obviously, keeping Romo was the right call. But right now, it’s not something the Cowboys should do.
For every Romo, there’s a Matt Baker, Matt Moore, Jeff Mroz, Nick Stephens, or Dalton Williams. Earlier this week, a reporter asked Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones if the club had learned its lesson by cutting Moore back in 2007. Jones was quick to reply with some honesty, pointing out that Moore not only has been a so-so quarterback on a so-so team, but he wouldn’t have ever played over Tony Romo.
I think Tanney should be one of the 22 cuts the Cowboys make Saturday afternoon to get down to 53 players. Certainly, he’s good enough to bring back to the practice squad. And he’d be a good scout team quarterback because not only does he give you a strong arm in the pocket, but he’s also athletic enough to at least run the zone-read stuff that they’ll see a few times this year. No, I’m not saying he’s quick like Robert Griffin III or Michael Vick, but he’s a lot closer to that than Kyle Orton.
The point is, there will be other Alex Tanney’s out there.
If, and it’s a pretty big if after this performance, Tanney gets claimed by another team that wants to put him on the 53-man roster, the Cowboys will be fine. I really don’t see any NFL team deciding Tanney is good enough for their squad.
Maybe that’s the silver lining in Thursday’s night game. Tanney likely will get cut but his performance here probably doesn’t have any team foaming at the mouth to sign him.
I hope this doesn’t come across as a rip-job toward Tanney. I actually like his potential. I think he’s got a nice arm, good awareness in the pocket, quick feet and he’s got that moxie that all good quarterbacks must have.
And obviously he’s got good accuracy or he wouldn’t have a YouTube video on his trick-shot passes. But he certainly wasn’t filming that video with a pass rush in his face. It makes a difference.
I think Alex Tanney should and will be with the Cowboys next week. But it’ll likely be on the practice squad. And if he doesn’t make it, the Cowboys can’t worry about it.
COWBOYS 2013 INJURY UPDATE: Anthony Spencer surgery a success, should be ready for start of the season
Defensive end Anthony Spencer had successful surgery on his left knee today (Thursday), according to his agent Jordan Woy.
Spencer will be be sidelined about a month while recovering, likely keep him out the majority of the preseason. He should be ready for the start of the season.
The surgery was necessary after Spencer experienced discomfort in the knee during pre-camp conditioning tests on Saturday. It’s the same knee he hyper-extended during organized team activities in June. A magnetic resonance imaging exam confirmed a bone-bruise in Spencer’s left knee.
The Cowboys felt surgery was the best option and wanted to get this taken care of so it wouldn’t be a lingering issue during the season. Spencer will make $10.6 million after being designated as the team’s franchise player.
RELATED: Cowboys finally got some good news on the injury front
Starting left guard Nate Livings has been given the OK to practice and was removed Friday from the active non-football injury list. He’s expected to practice Friday afternoon after missing the start of camp with a foot problem.
Coach Jason Garrett said several other injured players could be back next week, including tight end James Hanna (hamstring), guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (hamstring) and guard Ron Leary (calf).
Backup right tackle Jermey Parnell (hamstring) probably need another week, Garrett said.
Garrett also said that defensive ends Anthony Spencer (knee) and Tyrone Crawford (Achilles tendon) had successful surgeries in Dallas. Spencer is expected back in camp sidelines this week, while Crawford will remain in Dallas.
IRVING, Texas – Whether Doug Free is a member of the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 or not, Baltimore might have come up with the price tag on whoever plays right tackle for the club this season.
The Ravens re-signed left tackle Bryant McKinnie to a two-year deal worth a maximum of $7 million, according to The Baltimore Sun. The maximum part of the deal comes in at a $3.5 million if he hits on incentives or escalators in the deal, so the actual average of the deal is less than that.
The Cowboys can use the McKinnie deal in their discussions about a pay cut for Free or in potential talks with unsigned vets Eric Winston or Max Starks (or any other semi-legitimate tackle available now). None of them are going to play worse than Free did in early 2012.
If we are to believe Stephen Jones, then Free is the Cowboys’ top choice to play right tackle in 2013. He knows the offense and should be better in the second year under offensive coordinator/line coach Bill Callahan. He played better in the final month of last season when he split time with Jermey Parnell.
Parnell’s only start came at left tackle on Thanksgiving when Tyron Smith was hurt and unable to play because of a short week of preparation. Over the last few weeks, the Cowboys – well, Jerry and Stephen Jones at least – have made it clear that it is time they start using younger players sooner, the way other teams across the league do.
The Cowboys picked up Parnell off New Orleans’ practice squad in 2010 but he was inactive for the 12 games he was on the Cowboys’ roster. In 2011, he played in six games but never took significant snaps.
The Cowboys gave him a $1 million signing bonus before the 2012 draft, hoping he could continue to develop from basketball player at Ole Miss to tackle in the NFL. He was active for every game last season but struggled early in the year when he was asked to play as the No. 3 tight end in short-yardage and goal line situations.
The Cowboys lived with Free’s struggles for the first 12 games before finally relenting and putting Parnell at right tackle on every other series.
Free is scheduled to make $7 million this year. Clearly the Cowboys will not pay that and Free has to know there is not another team in the league that will pay him that. The question is whether he would be willing to take a cut to $3 million or so. The Cowboys’ question is whether they would offer Free a chance to earn back some of the money through incentives.
Winston is on record he is seeking $3-4 million to play. If that’s the case, then that’s too rich for the Cowboys and most likely a lot of teams. But McKinnie’s deal would seem to help the Cowboys get their price on whoever they want to play right tackle this season.
PHOENIX – Starting right tackle Doug Free‘s status with the Dallas Cowboys is secure for now.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones didn’t dispute that Monday afternoon; however, he did say that “it’s not guaranteed” that Free will return in 2013.
Free didn’t lose his starting job last season, but he shared playing time in the last four weeks with Jermey Parnell.
“I think he improved last year,” Jones said of Free. “Whoever knows what caused [the struggles], ’cause Doug is one of our hardest workers, a leader in the room. Obviously, when the competition level got going there he responded well with probably his best games near the end.”
Jones was also complimentary of Parnell.
“We like Parnell a lot,” he said. Jones later added that the Cowboys “need tackles. You have to have more than two tackles.”
The NFL draft will dictate what the Cowboys could do with Free. Jones said there are moving parts revolving around the position and if the Cowboys draft a tackle they believe can either start or become the swing tackle, Free could become a post-June 1 cut, saving the team $7 million.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Doug Free (68) and Jermey Parnell (78) responded well to a rotation at right tackle. They alternated series Sunday in the win against the Bengals.
After Free played the first series, Parnell came in at right tackle for the second series. It became clear when Free was not receiving treatment for an injury and came back in for the third series that the Cowboys were trying to work in Parnell.
“Well, we just wanted to give Jermey a chance,” Garrett said. “He has done a good job. He played a few weeks ago when Tyron was out and showed that he can play in this league. We tried to give him some snaps in practice. He responded well to that. Doug responded well to it.”
The NFL report said Free played 58 snaps and Parnell played 15, plus four on special teams.
Parnell played without a penalty, as he did in the Thanksgiving Day start against Washington at left tackle in place of Tyron Smith. Free had one holding penalty in the Bengals game.
“So we just felt like in that situation, it was justified,” Garrett said. “We started Doug. Then we put Jermey in there, and we kept that rotation going throughout the ballgame.”